‘Gen­der­less is not trend, but so­cial phe­nom­e­non’

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE - By Kim Jae-heun [email protected]

Si­mon Collins, for­mer Dean of Par­sons School of De­sign and founder of fash­ion in­sti­tute FCD (Fash­ion Cul­ture De­sign) said gen­der­less is not a fash­ion trend, but a so­cial phe­nom­e­non.

The fash­ion ex­pert held a sem­i­nar dur­ing the 2017 Hera Seoul Fash­ion Week at Dong­dae­mun De­sign Plaza (DDP) in Seoul last month to dis­cuss the theme “Fash­ion in the Age of Gen­der­less” with four other renowned fash­ion in­sid­ers. Fed­er­a­tion fran­caise de la cou­ture fash­ion & me­dia di­rec­tor Lau­rence Su­dre-Mon­nier, Ital­ian Cham­ber of Fash­ion Buy­ers Pres­i­dent Mario Dell’Oglio, Vogue U.K. fash­ion di­rec­tor An­ders Chris­tian Mad­sen and Sel­f­ridges Women’s De­sign­wear buy­ing man­ager Jean­nie Lee par­tic­i­pated in the sem­i­nar.

“I am afraid to talk about the topic gen­der­less, which can cre­ate a lot of prob­lems,” Collins said. “I thought about it a lot and it is not a trend. We talk about it as a so­cial phe­nom­e­non these days.

“Gen­der­less is about ac­cept­ing ev­ery­thing. I can want to wear a skirt and it can be un­flat­ter­ing, but peo­ple should not crit­i­cize it.”

Mad­sen picked Louis XIV as the epit­ome of the gen­der­less look. Louis XIV was the French king in the 17th cen­tury who fa­vored wear­ing flam­boy­ant gowns dec­o­rated with em­broi­dery, and when he was young the prince wore dresses with women’s lace.

“The era is talk­ing about no gen­der, but gen­der stays there. We just want to talk about a dif­fer­ent side of gen­der. We are watch­ing a new revo­lu­tion in the field like when we first saw an alien in a film,” Mad­sen said.

Lee agreed the col­lec­tions hung in de­part­ment stores are no longer strange these days.

“This year’s Givenchy show had male and fe­male mod­els walk the same run­way in Paris. Women can wear men’s cloth­ing and you can­not tell if it was orig­i­nally for men. I was sur­prised to watch Korean fash­ion shows mix­ing male mod­els and fe­male mod­els in the same show. It looked very nat­u­ral,” Lee said.

The Ital­ian Cham­ber of Fash­ion Buy­ers pres­i­dent saw gen­der­less as en­ter­tain­ment. He per­ceived it as the young gen­er­a­tion’s way of pro­mot­ing iden­tity.

“The new gen­er­a­tion wants at­ten­tion. They want to say ‘I’m here.’ It is a flashy gen­er­a­tion. No­body wants to be anony­mous. In this con­text, gen­der­less is a new chal­lenge for fash­ion de­sign­ers. So we are wit­ness­ing gen­der­less in ev­ery col­lec­tion these days,” Dell’Oglio said.

Cour­tesy of Seoul De­sign Foun­da­tion

From left, Sel­f­ridges Women’s De­sign­wear Buy­ing Man­ager Jean­nie Lee, Vogue U.K. Fash­ion Di­rec­tor An­ders Chris­tian Mad­sen, Fed­er­a­tion fran­caise de la cou­ture Fash­ion & Me­dia Di­rec­tor Lau­rence Su­dre-Mon­nier, Ital­ian Cham­ber of Fash­ion Buy­ers Pres­i­dent...

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